The obvious difference between bathroom bills and Jim Crow laws

by Nick Eicher
Posted on Friday, May 13, 2016, at 3:32 pm

Each week, The World and Everything in It features a “Culture Friday” segment, in which Executive Producer Nick Eicher discusses the latest cultural news with John Stonestreet, president of the Chuck Colson Center for Christian Worldview. Here is a summary of this week’s conversation.

The nation’s top law-enforcement official said this week the Obama administration’s crusade to redefine “sex” according to gender identity and not biology is about “a great deal more than bathrooms.”

In a speech Monday, Attorney General Loretta Lynch touched on legalities but spent most of the time reaching for historic parallels in a narrative that was much, much bigger than any legal analysis.

“It was not so very long ago that states, including North Carolina, had other signs above restrooms, water fountains, and on public accommodations, keeping people out based on a distinction without a difference,” Lynch said. “We’ve moved beyond those dark days, but not without a tremendous amount of pain and suffering, and an ongoing fight to keep moving forward. Let us write a different story this time.”

John Stonestreet said this week that comparing laws such as North Carolina’s HB2 to Jim Crow laws is not only inaccurate, but also offensive. 

“I’m not an African-American, and I don’t have that history, but it just seems to me to be an offensive comparison,” he said. Wanting people to use the restrooms or locker room associated with their biological gender is very different than the widespread, arbitrary discrimination against African-Americans that occurred in the past. 

“If we had separate water fountains or separate lunch counters for transgender or gay and lesbian Americans, then that would be the same sort of thing,” Stonestreet said. “There’s nothing about identifying in a particular way, sexually, that has anything to do with what happens at a water fountain or what happens at a lunch counter. … When we go into a bathroom, what happens in that bathroom has everything to do with the particular [anatomy] that a person has.”

Listen to Culture Friday on The World and Everything in It.

Nick Eicher

Nick lives in St. Louis, loves the Blues (as in the NHL), is executive producer of WORLD Radio, and co-hosts WORLD's radio news magazine The World and Everything in It. Follow Nick on Twitter @NickEicher.

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